PAVILLON DE LA REINE, PARIS
They don't say Paris is a good idea for no reason.
Anytime of year, the city offers you a beautiful escape that for us Londoners, is just so easily accessible it would be rude not to take up the French capital's offer of a visit!
So before Christmas, some time in mad December, I decided I need a quick escape and Paris came calling.
It was my third visit to the city last year but somehow I never manage to get bored. There's always so much to see, so much to do and new places to discover that honestly, I don't think I will ever be bored. You can get some really great deals with the Eurostar (if you book far enough in advance or travel out of peak times) that it really doesn't need to be an expensive trip.
When I visited Paris in my early 20's (god, I'm not there anymore - where is the time going and why am I not a grown up yet?) I was up for booking cheap hotels in the most touristy of areas - I couldn't afford better and I didn't know any better. However like a fine wine, I've matured well (ahem) and my knowledge of Paris and its hotels has vastly improved. As I approach the later 20's, there will be no slumming it from now on.
For this last trip, I booked into Pavillon de la Reine for a night - somewhere I'd passed on my explorations before and made a mental bookmark to remember for future reference.
The privately owned, family-run hotel is positioned within perhaps one of the prettiest settings I've ever stayed in. For starters, it's set back from the Place des Vosges, a beautiful square lined by Parisian apartments, cafes and galleries which I love to visit every time I come to Paris. But the hotel itself looks like its lifted straight from a fairytale. The ivy-covered mansion was built under the instruction of Henry IV in the 17th century. Fairy lights twinkle away from dusk making it one of the most magical places in Paris at night to stay and there's a huge garden courtyard out front where guests can enjoy their drinks with a slice of privacy. The lobby features grand marble fireplaces, original antique furnishings and oil paintings, mixing rich palettes with textures and muted tones the way that only the French can do.
There's no restaurant but a help yourself breakfast is served every morning in the lounge (or in your room if you're feeling particularly lazy/indulgent) for an additional charge if your room doesn't come on a breakfast basis and there's a well stocked honesty bar for guests to use at their will.
Feeling in need of a bit of TLC? There's also the Spa de la Reine by Codage which offers a range of treatments to soothe and de-stress. The hotel also has a gym, jacuzzi and steam bath so if you really didn't want to leave the hotel, then there's no real reason you would need to!
The hotel has 56 rooms, each unique with no two the same. I stayed in one of the hotel's Junior Suites complete with its own lounge, separate bedroom, dreamy king size bed and views overlooking the quiet streets below and the hotel's enclosed courtyard. Little details like the beautiful red suede bed throw, original exposed beams and baroque wallpaper all added to the room's personality and there was more than enough living space that should you stay with someone, you won't ever feel on top of each other. All rooms come with the standard amenities - my favourite being the bathrobes, thick and snuggly - just how bathrobes ought to be.
Pavillon de la Reine is in the heart of the Marais, one of my favourite areas of Paris for its boutique shops, quaint streets and independent cafes & restaurants. If you're visiting Paris for the first time and want to see it all without feeling on top of everyone in the centre of Paris then the hotel is an excellent choice - everywhere is in easy reach! Nearby metro stations include Saint-Paul (line 1), Bastille (lines 1, 5, 8) and Chemin Vert (line 8).
You have the Marais on your doorstep and the possibilities there are endless as I'm sure anyone that's visited Paris before will know.
If you don't feel like strolling far from your room, you really don't have to. Here are a few of my favourite spots just a stone's through away from the hotel's doors:
Fragments - 76 Rue des Tournelles, 75003 Paris - cute little cafe that oozes Parisian cool and serves up a good cuppa.
Carette - 25 Place des Vosges, 75003 Paris - forget L'aduree and Angelina's, my favourite little Parisian cafe is the charming Carette on the Places des Vosges
Chez Janou - 2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 75003 Paris - one of my favourite bistro finds in the city to date - food is hearty French and interiors will have you saying oh la la.
Cafe Hugo - 22 Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris - a typical French cafe but I always love ordering a croque monsieur and french fries here whilst watching Paris go by.
Place des Vosges - you have the square itself which is an attraction in itself. In summer, people spill onto the grass - tourists and locals alike mix to get their vitamin D fix.
Thank you to Pavillon de la Reine for a wonderful stay - as always, all opinions are my own.
NEED TO KNOW:
28 Place des Vosges, 75003 Paris, France